Trisha Shetty

Halmahera Sea languages

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Glottolog:  raja1255
Geographic distribution:  Halmahera Sea and Raja Ampat Islands, New Guinea
Linguistic classification:  Austronesian Malayo-Polynesian Nuclear MP (Central–Eastern) Halmahera–Cenderawasih Halmahera Sea

The Halmahera Sea languages, also known as the Raja Ampat-South Halmahera languages, are a branch of Malayo-Polynesian languages spoken on islands in the Halmahera Sea, and on its margins from the south-eastern coast of Halmahera to the Raja Ampat Islands of the western tip of New Guinea.

The languages of the Raja Ampat Islands show a strong Papuan substratum influence; it is not clear that they are actually Austronesian as opposed to relexified Papuan languages.

Remijsen (2001) and Blust (1978) linked the languages of Raja Ampat to the South Halmahera languages. David Kamholz (2014) breaks up Raja Ampat, so that the structure of the Halmahera Sea languages is as follows:

  • South Halmahera
  • Ambel–Biga: Waigeo (Ambel), Biga
  • As
  • Maden
  • Maya–Matbat: Matbat, Ma'ya (Salawati, Laganyan (Legenyem), Wauyai, Kawe, Batanta; perhaps distinct languages)
  • References

    Halmahera Sea languages Wikipedia


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